When it’s time to snooze, is it OK to have a dog sleeping in your bed?
Since ancient times, when wolves and dingoes first drew close to our fires for warmth and companionship, we humans have slept beside our canine pals. We love curling up next to a warm, slumbering pooch. And it’s safe to say that our dogs think it’s pretty awesome sleeping with us, too.
Despite the universal truth that happiness is a warm puppy, the answer to whether you should allow your dog to sleep in your bed is a resounding “It depends.”
There’s plenty of research to suggest that sleeping with your dog is good for you. It can reduce stress and depression and even help to lower your blood pressure.
But there are also compelling reasons to give your pup a comfy spot of his own. Let’s take a closer look at five of them.
Dogs aren’t always great sleep partners. They change positions, groom themselves, snore, and kick. They may even get those cute twitchy-paw dreams we love to observe when they’re awake but aren’t so fond of when they disrupt our sleep.
One small study of 12 women who co-sleep with their pups showed that sleeping with a dog increases human movement. In other words, we’re more restless when our dogs sleep with us, and that can make for lower-quality sleep that can lead to more serious side effects like sleep deprivation.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as many as three in 10 people who have allergies are allergic to their pets. If you know or suspect you’re allergic to your dog, sleeping in close proximity can amplify the problem.
You don’t have to be allergic to dogs themselves to experience allergy symptoms from sleeping with your pet. Along with pet allergens like dander and saliva, dogs can also carry pollen into your bed. So if you’re wondering why your hay fever is acting up at night, the dog sleeping in your bed may be the culprit.
You’ve heard the idiom “Let sleeping dogs lie.” There’s a reason this metaphor is a thing: When startled or disturbed, some dogs react by snapping.
If your precious pup has ever snarled or snapped when she’s startled awake, giving her a bed of her own is a must. You’ll sleep better when you don’t have to worry that a misplaced hand or foot could result in a bite. Not only that, but your dog will sleep better when she’s not riled up by your nocturnal movements.
Although it’s very unlikely that sleeping with your dog will make you sick, it’s probably best to skip the co-sleeping if you’re not feeling well or you have a weak immune system. And the same holds true for your pup. If your dog shows any signs of illness, make sure they sleep away from you and on their own bed.
Although we wish they weren’t, parasites are a thing. Even a clean, well-cared-for dog can pick up parasites like fleas, ticks, and even mites. And those tiny pests aren’t above feasting on humans. Dogs can also transfer intestinal parasites like ringworm to their human companions.
We don’t want to make you bug-o-phobic, but if you live in an area where fleas and ticks are common or you’re worried in general about diminutive creepy-crawlies, it’s best to have your pup keep four on the floor.
There’s a persistent belief that letting your dog sleep on your bed promotes dominant — and potentially aggressive — behavior. So let’s put this myth to bed (pun intended) straightaway.
The myth is based on something called “dominance theory” — the idea that we humans have to consistently show our dogs that we’re the “alpha dog” in our family pack. Alphas, so the legend says, don’t let their subordinates sleep in the same space.
But these days, dog behaviorists have debunked that theory as all bark and no bite. Unless your dog has shown signs of aggression when she’s startled from her sleep, there’s no reason to worry. You’re probably not giving your dog an overinflated ego by letting her curl up beside you.
So you want your dog nearby but just not on your bed? Research from the Mayo Clinic suggests that dogs and humans make great roomies, if not the best co-sleep partners.
The study found that healthy people who slept in the same room with a single dog didn’t experience significant sleep disturbances. But that dynamic changed when the dog was on the bed. Those who slept with a dog on their bed didn’t sleep as well and moved around more during the night.
Your dog is more than a pet — she’s a member of your family. You share your home, your walks and activities, and even your late-night snacks with her. It’s only natural to want to provide her with a comfy dog bed, especially when she sleeps almost half the day away.
In the end, deciding where your dog should sleep is a personal decision based on your health, your dog’s health, your dog’s behavior, and your individual quirks and preferences. (It’s worth mentioning, however, that washing your dog’s bed is easier than cleaning your own mattress if an accident occurs.)
If you’ve decided that your dog needs a spot all his own, Casper’s machine washable dog bed couples our mattress-making know-how with extensive dog-centered research to create a blissful sleep environment for your canine bestie.